The Victorian Government encourages consumers and the building industry to incorporate easy living features into new housing and apartment design and construction.
Livable homes are designed and built to meet the changing needs of occupants across their lifetime, with features that make them easier and safer to use for all occupants including:
- people with a disability
- ageing Australians
- people with temporary injuries, and
- families with young children.
Livable Housing Australia
Livable Housing Australia (LHA) was established in 2011 as a not-for-profit partnership between community and consumer groups, government and industry.
LHA promotes the mainstream adoption of livable housing design principles in all new homes built in Australia.
LHA provides information on the design of livable homes by:
- Delivering the Livable Housing Design Guidelines, nationally agreed guidelines on designing and building livable homes which can be viewed at Livable Housing Australia;
- Promoting the Livable Housing Design Quality Mark, which provides guidance to people buying or building a home about the accreditation level of the easy living features in the home; and
- Encouraging the use of the Quality Mark, by providing industry with knowledge to design and deliver livable homes, training registered assessors to evaluate homes, and certifying housing designs that comply with the Guidelines.
The Commonwealth Government made the Disability (Access to Premises - Buildings) Standards 2010 (the Premises Standards) under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
The Premises Standards prescribe administrative provisions and accessibility requirements for buildings that the public is entitled to enter and use. The accessibility requirements have been incorporated into the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and the administrative provisions are implemented through the Victorian Building Act 1993 and Building Regulations 2006, which adopt the BCA.
From 1 May 2011, certain new buildings and certain existing buildings undergoing building work are required to comply with the access provisions of the BCA.
The Premises Standards aim to ensure dignified, equitable, cost-effective and reasonably achievable access to buildings, and facilities and services within buildings.
Building certifiers, building developers and building managers as defined in the Premises Standards must ensure that the relevant buildings comply with the access provisions of the BCA.
Expert consultants experienced in assessing design solutions on access matters can provide advice on how to achieve a design that complies with the access provisions of the BCA. These consultants may also assist in producing an alternative solution, which is another way to comply with the access provisions.
However, if compliance with an access provision of the BCA would impose unjustifiable hardship, a person may apply to the Building Appeals Board for an exemption.
Detailed information is available in the VBA's Practice Note: Access to Buildings for People with a Disability.
Review of Premises Standards
In 2015-16, the Commonwealth Government conducted a review of the effectiveness of the Premises Standards in providing access to buildings for people with disabilities.
The review report was finalised by 1 May 2016, and decisions in relation to its release and the Commonwealth's response is expected in due course.
Information about the review is available on the Australian Government's Department of Industry, Innovation and Science's website.